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At least 50% of mortality cases attributed by Non-Communicable Diseases

At least 50 percent of deaths in Kisii County are attributed to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and hypertension, the County’s Coordinator of Non-Communicable Diseases, Dr. David Okinyi has said.

Speaking during the commemoration of World Diabetes Day in Kisii town, Okinyi urged residents of Kisii to visit the health facilities for screening in order to reduce cases of late diagnosis and health complications that are associated with the NCDs.

“Today, we are screening county workers, national government workers, legislators, state officers, and the county leadership so that we can start from the top in enlightening the people of the existence of diabetes,” said the Coordinator.

He lauded the Ministry of Health for joining the rest of the world in renewing its commitment to increase efforts to tackle NCDs which account for 39 percent of deaths in Kenya and 71 percent of global deaths per year.

The Ministry developed the Kenya National NCD Strategic Plan (NSP) 2021/22-2025/26 last year with the aim of consolidating and sustaining the gains made in the preceding NCD Strategic Plan 2015-2020, addressing the gaps identified during its evaluation and responding to emerging needs and trends.

The Strategic Plan was informed by the need to strengthen the multi-sectoral response to the increasing NCD burden and lays emphasis on population-wide prevention and control measures as well as strengthening health systems for the whole continuum of care for NCDs.

Some of the NCDs include cancers, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, mental health conditions, and injuries among others and Kenya is committed to reducing by a third the premature mortality due to these diseases by 2025.

Kisii County Executive for Health, Sarah Omache noted that diabetes is manageable and it is the responsibility of every individual to know whether they have the disease or not so that they can take measures from the health department.

“Diabetes has been termed as a lifestyle disease meaning it can be avoided if possible unless for cases where it is inherited. I am urging everyone to ensure they are active through exercises, walking, eating natural foods, and avoiding refined sugar,” said Omache.

She pointed out that the county government had established an NCD unit as a stand-alone department at the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital to address the increasing cases of non-communicable diseases being witnessed in the region.

The acting Chief Officer for Health, Dr. Geoffrey Otomu added that they will fully support the NCD department to ensure they bring the necessary change that is needed.

Dr. Otomu noted the county government had passed the Community Health Services Bill and is in the process of implementing it with the aim of ensuring that ward rounds are conducted within the households.

He said that Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) will play a great role in visiting those with chronic illnesses and reporting on the same as well as strengthening referral systems so that those with NCDs avoid late detection and further complications.

The Chief Officer urged the health practitioners working with the government and development partners, to embrace teamwork adding that human resource is the most essential factor while addressing health systems and executing specific policies and guidelines.

Otomu noted that stigma is also associated with chronic illnesses and told healthcare practitioners to find a way to speak with patients and avoid being judgemental even as they attend to them.

In addition, he said the Department of Health will be developing one annual work plan through the Monitoring and Evaluation unit and the plan will identify specific activities and personnel responsible and ways of sharing resources within the nine sub-counties to ensure that every resident of Kisii benefits from their services.

On his part, Philip Ombati who is diabetic pointed out that the health facilities lacked drugs and they are being forced to travel long distances in search of these drugs.

“If you look for the drugs for people living with diabetes, you are told they are available in Nairobi. Why should we travel to Nairobi to access these drugs yet we have facilities within the county?” Ombati asked.

He urged the county government to ensure that drugs are available at the sub-county health facilities and also employ additional health practitioners to assist patients living with the disease at the grassroots level.

Kisii county health practitioners celebrated World Diabetes Day by participating in a walk within Kisii town, screening for NCDs, and eye check-ups with various partners including Kisii County Government, Equity Afia, Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance Kenya, Kenya Defeat Diabetes Association, Lions Club Kisii and Kisii Eye Hospital.

By Mercy Osongo


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